COVID-19 Vaccine Information

⚠ As COVID-19 cases and contacts continue to climb in Ontario and here in Ottawa, we expect that the Ministry of Health approach to COVID-19 testing will change with new prioritization criteria that will focus on vulnerable populations and essential workers. In the interim, Ottawa Public Health advises in the event that you are unable to access timely PCR testing and regardless of your vaccination status, you must self-isolate if: 

  • you or anyone in your household has tested positive on a rapid antigen test 
  • you are a household member of someone who has tested positive on a PCR test 
  • you or anyone in your household are experiencing any of the most common symptoms of COVID- 19 
    • Fever (Temperature of 37.8 C or greater) and/or chills
    • Cough (new or worsening)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
    • Extreme tiredness, lack of energy, feeling of being unwell (not related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours)
    • Muscle aches and pains (not related to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the past 48 hours)
    • Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea

Please be aware that COVID-19, in particular Omicron, often presents with minor symptoms (cough, fatigue, and/or congestion or runny nose) or causes no symptoms at all.

Last update: December 23, 2021

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Visit our COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard for up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Ottawa.

Vaccine information

Which vaccines are approved in Canada? 

 

 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Age range Type 

Doses*

Recommended Interval

(time between doses)*

Potential allergen **

Pfizer BioNTech

Born in 2016 or earlier mRNA 2 8 weeks polyethylene glycol (PEG)

Moderna

18 years and older   mRNA 8 weeks

polyethylene glycol (PEG)

 

tromethamine
(trometamol or Tris)
AstraZeneca 40 years and older Viral-vector  2 At least 8 weeks Polysorbate-80
Janssen 18 years and older Viral-vector  1  N/A Polysorbate-80

* Many COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. The time between doses varies depending on the vaccine you receive and can also depend on provincial and NACI guidance. 

** See specific vaccine details for additional non-medicinal ingredients 

 

 

 

Please also see the Government of Canada’s list of approved vaccines authorized for use in Canada.

Who can receive first, second or third doses of the vaccine?

Who can receive their first dose?

  • Everyone aged 5 years or older at the time of their appointment is currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines require two doses. All residents are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they can, and to receive their second dose as soon as they are eligible to ensure maximum protection against COVID-19. 
Who can receive their second dose?

Second doses are available as follows: 

The optimal interval between the first and second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is 8 weeks. The optimal interval between the first and second dose of an AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is at least 8 weeks. 

Who can receive their third dose?

Wondering why you should get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine? Visit our frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination page.

Third (booster) dose eligibility 

The current surge driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, is increasing the likelihood most people will come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and may become ill with the virus. Right now, vaccination and maintaining public health measures, like masking, avoiding gatherings, and staying home when sick, remain our strongest defense.

Third (booster doses) of the COVID-19 vaccine are being provided in an expedited way to protect more people in our community from severe illness and complications due to COVID-19.

Third doses (booster doses) of the COVID-19 vaccine are recommended for the following populations if at least 84 days (approximately three months) have passed since their last dose:

  • Individuals aged 18 and over (born in 2003 or earlier);
  • Individuals who received a complete series of a viral vector vaccine (two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine or one dose of the Janssen vaccine); and
  • First Nation, Inuit and Métis adults (16+) and their non-Indigenous household members. 

Eligible residents can now drop-in to any Ottawa Public Health community clinic to receive their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents may also book an appointment at a community clinic through the Provincial COVID-19 Vaccination Portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. 

Please note 84 days (approximately 3 months) must have passed since your second dose before you receive your booster dose.

Three-dose primary series for individuals who are immunocompromised

Some individuals who are immunocompromised can get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine eight weeks after their second dose as part of an extended primary series. Note that in some cases the interval may be shortened as advised by your health care provider or specialist.

Contact your health care provider to see if you are eligible.

You might be eligible if you are:

  • a transplant recipient (including solid organ transplant and hematopoietic stem cell transplants)
  • receiving stable, active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy) for a malignant hematologic disorder or solid tumor
  • in receipt of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell
  • an individual with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (for example, DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Stage 3 or advanced untreated HIV infection and those with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • undergoing active treatment with the following categories of immunosuppressive therapies: anti-B cell therapies (monoclonal antibodies targeting CD19, CD20 and CD22), high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents that are significantly immunosuppressive or are taking specific immunosuppressant medications
  • receiving dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis)

The third dose of vaccine will be given at least two months (8 weeks) after the second dose. Please note both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be offered. Drop-in vaccinations are available for third doses at any community clinic in Ottawa during their hours of operation.

Ottawa residents who meet these criteria must present one of the following to receive their third dose:

  • A letter from their specialist or hospital program; OR
  • Current prescription package, label or pharmacy receipt of an immunosuppressant medication listed by the Ontario government. The prescription must clearly label: patient name, name of medication, date of dispensing, and name of prescribing doctor.

Residents of Long-Term Care Homes (LTCH), Retirement Homes (RH), Elder Care Lodges, and elderly living in other congregate settings will also be offered a third dose, or in some cases a fourth dose. Ottawa Public Health is working with these groups directly to offer a third dose or fourth dose to residents in those settings 

Please also see this link to Provincial guidance for third doses (PDF).

Does my patient, who was vaccinated outside of Ontario, need another vaccine dose? 

On September 14, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Health released an update to the provincial definition of fully vaccinated (PDF) along with guidance for individuals vaccinated outside of Ontario (PDF). Depending on the type of vaccine your patient was previously immunized with outside Ontario, patients may need one dose of an mRNA vaccine to allow them to meet Ontario’s fully vaccinated definition (PDF). The most common non-Health Canada approved vaccines reported to Ottawa Public Health are Sinovac, Sinopharm, Sputnik V and Abdala.

If your patient requires another dose of vaccine to meet the fully vaccinated definition, and you are not immunizing in your clinic, please refer them to an OPH immunization clinic.

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Supporting your patients to get vaccinated 

For more information on vaccine clinics in Ottawa, visit our public COVID-19 Vaccine webpage

Resources for patient counselling for the COVID-19 vaccines are available from the Centre of Effective Practice.

Additionally, The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has developed a new resource titled the COVID-19 Vaccination Tool Kit for Health Care Providers. This resource may help your patients and colleagues make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination.

Finally, the 19 to Zero COVID-19 vaccination campaign has created a number of resources for healthcare professionals to use to address vaccine confidence.

Even if your patient decides not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please continue to recommend they stay up to date with other vaccinations, including vaccination against influenza.

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Medical Exemptions from Vaccination

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided guidance to assist health care providers to determine if their patient has a contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination that qualifies for a medical exemption. See Table 1 in the linked Ministry of Health guidance document (PDF).

As per provincial guidance, in many instances, safe administration of subsequent doses of COVID-19 vaccine is possible under the management of an appropriate physician or nurse practitioner. True medical exemptions are expected to be infrequent and should be supported by expert consultation.

For further details - Statement of Medical Exemption – COVID-19 Vaccine

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Contraindications to Vaccination

Do not administer vaccine to patients without a consultation by an allergist if the patient has a history of severe immediate allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to a prior administration of COVID-19 vaccine or any of the vaccine ingredients.

For immediate allergic reactions occurring within 4 hours following the first dose of immunization, including urticaria, angioedema, or anaphylaxis, patients will not be eligible to receive their second dose without evaluation by an Allergist (PDF). Allergic reactions to COVID-19 immunizations remain rare and treatable; e-consult for Allergists may reduce delays in completing COVID-19 immunization.

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Report an Adverse Event Following Immunization

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario, all healthcare providers are required to report AEFIs to local public health units. If you see a patient with symptoms that could possibly be related to a recent immunization, you as the healthcare provider are required to report the AEFI (PDF). Submitting a report doesn’t mean that the vaccine caused the event, but this is a critical component of monitoring the safety of all vaccines.

In addition to AEFIs, health care providers are asked to report Adverse Events of Special Interests (PDF) for COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance. AEFIs and AESIs are reportable to the health unit of the patient’s residence.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the AEFI form (PDF), which describes the AEFIs which must be reported, and Public Health Ontario’s AEFI fact sheet (PDF), which on page 2 indicates the temporal criteria for reporting based on symptom onset that can be between 24 hours to 8 weeks after vaccine administration. If you are unsure, please be proactive and report.

All AEFI reporting forms (PDF) are submitted by fax to OPH at 613-580-9660 or through our online form.

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Proof of Vaccination for Small Health Care Settings

The Ontario government has provided a guidance document (PDF) for physicians and nurse practitioners working in a community setting, including screening, staff concerns and infection prevention and control scenarios. Proof of vaccination signage has also been provided by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for use in health care settings.

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Become a Vaccine Provider

Primary care providers in Ottawa are invited to administer COVID-19 vaccines in their offices. Please contact COVID Vaccine Partners at covidvaccinepartners@ottawa.ca for more information. To order Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, complete the Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccine order form.

There are opportunities for health care providers to provide services in mass immunization clinics or congregate setting clinics operated by Ottawa Public Health. Physician immunizers must have an independent practice license in Ontario, CMPA liability protection and an OHIP billing number (for compensation through sessional fee codes). If you have not yet participated at an OPH clinic, please email covidimmunizers@ottawa.ca with your name, email, phone number, CPSO license number and proof of CMPA to register as a physician immunizer.

Physician Billing

The Ontario Medical Association has outlined information pertaining to billing for COVID-19 vaccination (PDF). Furthermore, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care publishes OHIP bulletins to update on billing concerns, which include COVID-19. Physicians should also check the OMA portal for updates. Questions regarding submission of billing codes should be directed to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term. Care’s Service Support Contact Centre at SSContactCentre.MOH@ontario.ca.

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Resources for Healthcare providers

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